Bible Stories for Adults
The Tower of Babel
Welcome and Announcements
Next Week - God Calls Abram (Genesis 12)
Bible Words to Remember:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Family Ties (Genesis 10)
What humans were left after the flood to rebuild civilization?
Genesis 8:18 = Noah, his wife, his 3 sons & their wives
With all humanity descending from this small group, what is described after the flood story?
Genesis 10:32 = How nations of the world arose from Noah's offspring
Who descended from Noah's son Japheth? = Javan (Ionians - Greeks), Tiras (Thracians - Italy)
Genesis 10:1-2 = Europe - Gomer (Britain), Magog (Russia), Madai (Medes - Persia),
Where do we see that Japheth's descendants would stretch so far geographically?
Genesis 9:27 = Blessing Noah gave to Japheth - May God extend the territory...
Who descended from Noah's son Ham?
Genesis 10:6 = Africa - Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Put (Lybia), Canaan
What further details are we given that gives background for the Tower of Babel story?
Genesis 10:8-12 = Nimrod conquered Babylonia, started race that likes to fight
What other son of Ham was important to the Israelites?
Genesis 10:15-19 = Canaan - Nations the Israelites had to conquer
What had Noah said about the lineage from his son Ham?
Genesis 10:25 = Cursed them to be slaves, - used in 1800s to justify black slavery
Who descended from Noah's son Shem? = Lud (Lydia - Asia Minor), Aram (Arabia)
Genesis 10:21-22 = Asia - Elam (east of Babylonia), Asshur (Assyria), Arphaxad,
How did Arphaxad become important? = See also Genesis 11:10-14)
Genesis 10:24 = Grandfather of Eber (Hebrew) - Ancestor to Hebrews (Israelites)
The Ziggurat of Shinar (Genesis 11:1-4)
When does the Tower of Babel story take place?
Genesis 11:1 = Within chapter 10, one language, about 30,000 people on earth
Where did this story take place? = Show on map; Ruins are at Birs-Nimrud
Genesis 11:2 = Shinar, Hebrew for Sumer (region of Babylonia); Iraq
What did they decide to build?
Genesis 11:4 = A ziggurat, stepped pyramid with temple on top, bridge to the gods
What were the building materials? = Used for ordinary buildings, not temples TO God
Genesis 11:3 = Brick & tar, man-made; inferior to God-made stone
Sin Number One (Genesis 11:4)
What is the first reason that the people decided to build this ziggurat?
Genesis 11:4 = Make a name for ourselves
What sin were the people guilty of?
Proverbs 29:23 = A man's pride brings him low, but humility gains honor
What is pride?
Funk & Wagnalls = An undue sense of one's superiority; arrogance; conceit
When is pride okay?
Galatians 6:14 = May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
Is it wrong to build a tower or tall building? = removed high places (temple towers to gods)
2 Chronicles 14:2, 5, 7 = Asa did right, built towns with towers (not for idols)
What kind of tower should we desire?
Proverbs 18:10 = The name of the Lord is a strong tower...the righteous run to it
Sin Number Two (Genesis 11:4)
What was the second purpose of building the ziggurat?
Genesis 11:4 = We won't be scattered over the face of the whole earth
How did this oppose the command God had given Noah?
Genesis 9:1 = Be fruitful & increase in number and fill the earth
The Judgment (Genesis 11:5-8)
How effectively were the people able to build a tower that reaches to the heavens?
Genesis 11:5 = The Lord had to come down just to see it
How did God respond when He saw what the people were doing?
Genesis 11:6 = They will get out of control if they continue
What was the danger of a unified humanity at this time?
Deuteronomy 8:17 = You could say, I am prosperous by my own power & strength
What did God do in judgment of this sin?
Genesis 11:7-8 = Confused their language, scattered them over the earth
God's Place and Time (Genesis 11:9)
Why is the Ziggurat of Shinar called the Tower of Babel?
Genesis 11:9 = Called Babel because God confused the world's language
When did all of this happen?
Babilu - Akkadian for = Gate of God (Akkadian was language of area)
balal - Hebrew for = to mix, to confuse
Genesis 10:25 = During Peleg's life, 100-300 yrs after the flood (Gen 11:10-18)
How random was this scattering?
Acts 17:26-27 = God decided exact times and places for all people
The Grace (Genesis 12:1-3)
How did God respond in grace to this incident? = Speak further next week
Genesis 12:1-3 = He blessed Abram to be a blessing, all nations to be blessed
How did the fulfillment of this grace give us an example for our lives?
Philippians 2:5 = Your attitude should be the same as Jesus'
How did Jesus' goals contrast with those of the Babylonians?
Genesis 11:4 = Make a name for ourselves
How did Jesus' rewards contrast with the Babylonians' judgment?
Philippians 2:6 = Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped
Philippians 2:7 = Made himself nothing, became a servant
Philippians 2:8 = Humbled himself, obedient to death, even as a criminal
Genesis 11:7-9 = Confused language, scattered them, humbled them
Philippians 2:9 = Exalted to highest place, gave name above all names
Philippians 2:10-11 = Every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father
The Great Reversal (Colossians 3:11)
When will this dispersion and separation be completely reversed?
Revelation 7:9-10 = In the end, men from every nation & language in one voice
Have we experienced any of this reversal yet?
Colossians 3:11 = In Christ, there are no differences
When did this begin?
Acts 11:15-18 = When the Spirit came upon the early Christians - esp. Pentecost
Revelation and Unity from Dispersed Confusion (Acts 2)
How did the command to God's new people in Christ contrast with that to His original people?
Genesis 9:1 = God commanded to spread out and fill the earth
How well did both groups follow their instructions?
Acts 1:4 = Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem
Genesis 11:4 = Built the tower so they wouldn't be scattered
Acts 1:12, 14; 2:1 = Apostles returned to Jerusalem and stayed together there
What names rallied the groups together?
Genesis 11:4 = Their own; wanted to make a name for themselves
Acts 1:21-22 = The name and person of Jesus
Who tried to reach whom in each story?
Genesis 11:4 = Men were trying to reach the gods (heavens)
Who came to see what was going on?
Acts 12:2-4 = God came down to man
Genesis 11:5 = God came to see what man was doing
Acts 2:5-6a = Man came to see God at Pentecost
How were languages used to show the power of God?
Genesis 11:6-7 = Scattered by different languages to dilute their power
How were the nations affected?
Acts 2:6-8 = God's power transcends language barriers and limitations
Genesis 11:8 = Nations scattered from Babel
Acts 2:9-11 = Every nation came together (see map)
How did the understandings of each group differ?
Genesis 11:3, 6 = Thought they had answers on their own
Did these understandings result in the groups being scattered or gathered?
Acts 2:12 = Couldn't understand on their own
Genesis 11:9 = Broken apart by confusion
Acts 2:38-41 = Brought together by Understanding
How did God's purpose for scattering differ between the two groups?
Genesis 9:1 = Scattered to fill the earth
Acts 1:8 = Sent out by God to spread gospel
Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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